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RICHMOND CLIMAX (Richmond)

The Richmond Climax [LCCN: sn86069162], a weekly newspaper published by the Climax Publishing Company, covered Richmond and Madison County for nearly 30 years. The paper was established by William G. White and French Tipton in 1887 to serve as a vessel for the Democratic Party in Richmond. Despite being in constant competition with Richmond's other Democratic newspaper, the Kentucky Register, the then four-page Climax was well-received and by 1910 regularly printed eight pages per issue.

Politics played an important role in the development of the Climax. Founding editor Tipton, a Richmond lawyer and politician, was initially a staunch supporter of the paper's Democratic mission. However, during the campaign for the 1896 presidential election, Tipton, in disagreement with William Jennings Bryan's Free Silver platform, changed political parties and left the paper. He then became editor of Richmond's Republican newspaper, the Pantagraph, further severing his ties with the Climax.

Richmond politician, Clarence E. Woods, editor of The Climax at the turn of the century, continued the paper's tradition of radical leadership. During the summer and fall of 1900 the local press was involved in a debate regarding local ownership of the Richmond Water and Light Company. Woods, a loyal Progressive, argued with both the Kentucky Register and the Pantagraph in favor of local ownership and declared that the Water Company was in violation of its contract with the city. After months of heated editorial debate, Woods' commentary became so flagrant that Climax's owner, Judge John C. Chenault, asked him to resign. A few days later, tensions were still high, causing an altercation between Pantagraph editor French Tipton and Woods. After being assaulted on a Richmond street, Woods shot Tipton in defense. The founder of the Climax died within days.

The quarrel between Woods and Tipton did little to stifle Woods' professional career. After the incident, he continued to write for the Climax and in 1905 he was elected mayor of Richmond. Later he moved to Florida where he continued his career in journalism.

Tipton and Woods weren't the only politically motivated Climax editors. A.D. Miller, the paper's longest lasting editor, served as both a Councilman and a School Board Trustee in Richmond. John Cabell Chenault, who owned the paper alongside Miller, came from a long line of politicians and served as both Madison County Judge and Attorney City Judge of Richmond

Although the Climax and its editors primarily functioned as an organ for the Democratic Party, they never failed to inform the citizens of Richmond of the local and national news. The paper carried an assortment of news notes from around the state and the country, but also covered local topics including agricultural market reports and Madison county happenings. In 1910 the Climax honored Richmond with "A Brief Historical Sketch of the city of Richmond, Kentucky," a 17 page supplement covering the industrial, social, and political history of the city.

The Richmond Climax was led by a number of editors during its life. French Tipton started the paper in 1887 with William G. White, who left his editorial duties after about a year but continued to contribute to the paper. Tipton remained editor until 1896, with the exception of a few months in 1894 and 1895, when the paper was edited by S.F. Rock. In 1896 John Cabell Chenault and A.D. Miller purchased the paper from Tipton and were later joined by Clarence E. Woods in 1897. Woods left the Climax in August of 1900 and a few months later was replaced by R. Lee Davis, formerly of the Kentucky Register. After Davis left in 1901, Robert S. Crowe served as editor for about two years, after which Miller resumed editorial duties. Louis Landram became editor in 1908 and stayed until he sold his share to Steve K. Vaught in 1910. When Vaught left, B.D. Gordon and Stanford, Kentucky newspapermen E.C and William P. Walton edited the paper until 1913. Miller was again at the helm of the paper when in September of 1914, the paper was purchased by founding editor William G. White and consolidated with his newspaper, the Madisonian.